on disciple making and church philosophy

A summary of last Sunday’s messages is due…

Competent to Correct, again on the subject of Discipleship and Child Training, drew its theme from the second word for instruction in Eph 6.4, nouthesia – ‘admonishment, warning’. The theme of the first message in this series centered around the notion that successful disciple making first of all requires that the disciple-maker be a disciple himself. This message builds on that by focusing on the challenge the disciple-maker faces in this world, leading another person from a mind that is dominated by the flesh (initially) and the world (eventually) to a mind that is fixed on Christ. The extent to which a mind is dominated by the world depends on the amount the natural mind is immersed in the world system, a combination of family environment and how old the person is when they become a Christian.

Regardless of extent, the challenge remains the same. A newly born babe in Christ still has a mind largely influenced by anti-God thinking. That thinking needs correction. Correction is the central meaning of the word ‘nouthesia’ – it is derived from the idea of ‘putting or placing something on the mind’, with a notion that the mind has got something wrong and needs to be disabused of its natural notions. God’s Word is intended for that purpose, to give us WORDS that correct our thinking, either by narrative example, precept, proclamation, command, doctrine, or what have you. The Lord’s church should be the incubator of this kind of correction as the members of the body in love and concern for one another correct blind spots and lead into deeper understanding of God’s mind in his Word. This is the object of every Bible-believing pastor.

The application of correction must come by carefully chosen words, at the appropriate time [sometimes ‘right now’ is good], with a ministering spirit and considering the kind of ministry relationship one has with someone else. Every believer ought to be so concerned about other believers that he is willing to risk offering words of correction when needed, especially in a discipleship relationship, for the sake of building up the body of Christ.


The afternoon message was It’s a Building, emphasizing the need for the people of God in this age to be the dwelling place of God and as such be organized according to His precepts for His glory in this world. I was not overly satisfied with this message. I felt like I had something I wanted to say, but didn’t really get it across very well. I am trying to communicate in my series a Biblical philosophy of the church (as I understand it!) but I am afraid that this message was not as well thought through as I wanted it to be.

I don’t think I said anything in it that was unbiblical (I certainly hope not!) but I don’t think I said anything particularly profound either. I was glad when it was over, if only that it was over. Next week I plan to preach on It’s a Body. May the Lord give grace, I hope that message is better.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3